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School board to Burchett: Kiss that $100 million dream goodbye

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Was the school board giving Mayor Tim Burchett the finger when it voted to build a new Gibbs Middle School and let somebody else figure out how to pay for it? The issue appears to be riding an emotional wave, and smart money says the votes are there on County Commission, which leaves Burchett squarely on the hot seat.

But no, the board wasn’t messing with Burchett by voting to build the school without having a clue how to pay for it. Most of those who voted yes support him and weren’t yet in office in 2010 when he decided to step in and build a new Carter Elementary School against the initial wishes of the board and Superintendent Jim McIntyre, for whom Burchett famously had no love (and still doesn’t).

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Testerman brought youth, modernization to city

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

The late Kyle Testerman was the only Knoxvillian to serve two separate four-year terms as mayor and the last member of City Council to advance to the mayor’s office, but that was 44 years ago.

Others serving on council have run for mayor since 1971, including Jean Teague, Danny Mayfield, Bernice O’Connor, Casey Jones and Ivan Harmon, but voters have not chosen a council member to be mayor since Testerman defeated the late Mayor Leonard Rogers in 1971.

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Change the world by treating women better

Wendy Smith
Government/Politics columnist

Those who think of Jimmy Carter as a peanut farmer who happened to mosey into the White House might be surprised to learn that Carter, at age 90, has dedicated himself to fighting injustice and violence against women and girls.

Wanda Sobieski, president of Sobieski, Messer & Associates law firm, discussed Carter’s 2014 book, “A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power,” at last week’s Books Sandwiched In program at the East Tennessee History Center.

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Proposals for coliseum, Henley draw mixed response

Bill Dockery
Features columnist

A city consultant’s report that suggests five significant steps to enhance downtown development was met with expressions of interest, suggestions and complaints.

Mayor Madeline Rogero and her staff recently presented a report by the Urban Land Institute. City officials Anne Wallace and Bob Whetsel presented the primary recommendations of the ULI report: Continue reading

The politics of voting and photo ID

Scott Frith
Government/Politics columnist

In politics, the truth rarely gets in the way of a good argument, and few issues have become more political than requiring photo identification to vote. The Tennessee Voter Identification Act, more commonly known as the photo ID law, requires nearly all voters to provide a Tennessee or federal ID before they can vote. As a result, many Democrats (and a few Republicans) have alleged that the law keeps indigent or low-income folks from voting because they can’t afford the cost of a photo ID.

It would be a good argument if it were true.

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Cumberland complaints grow louder

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

If the first week of construction on the Cumberland Avenue Corridor Project is a sign of what’s to come, business owners and their employees, workers at two nearby hospitals, plus West Knox and Alcoa Highway motorists getting into and out of downtown better hunker down for a long, bumpy ride.

The project has begun with utility work in the westbound lanes of Cumberland and on side streets between Volunteer Boulevard and 22nd Street, where the road has been narrowed to two lanes.

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